Climate Ecology Geology 

Fossil pollen holds clues to past

By Mackenzie Myers What if, instead of ancient treasure and tombs, Indiana Jones researched ancient pollen and soil?  Beyond just a seasonal nuisance or a crucial component of agriculture, pollen can be a key to understanding the past. It clues researchers in to how land was used thousands of years ago, as well as what the climate conditions were like at that time. And according to a new study from North Carolina State University, this tool may be available in more areas than previously thought.  Painting the past with fossil…

Read More
Ecology Geology 

Exploring the Science of Mountain Biodiversity

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) Mountain systems are hotspots of biodiversity, which means that they host many different species of many taxonomic groups in condensed spatial scales. Much has been studied about mountains and their diversity, but the biological and geological processes that maintain their great number of species remain elusive. In a recent review in Nature Geoscience, Alexandre Antonelli and colleagues have accounted for many different aspects of mountains and their diversity, trying to fill in the many gaps in this field of study by quantifying the relative importance of…

Read More
Geology 

The Wonderful World of Minerals

By Nadine Gabriel (@NadWGab) There are currently 5414 known minerals, from abellaite to zykaite. But what exactly are minerals? And how are they used in our everyday life? A mineral is a naturally occurring element or compound that is solid at room temperature and has an ordered atomic arrangement. Since some people get minerals mixed up with rocks, here’s a simple analogy you can use to memorise the distinction: minerals are like Lego blocks—they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colours; rocks, on the other hand, are like…

Read More